What’s in a Hook?

I’m reminded of Juliet’s soliloquy about a name. So what is in a hook, they are all the same right? Maybe not.

I’ve written articles about handle shapes and how they affect your grip.  But did you know that the shape and smoothness of the “business” end of your hook can also have an impact on the health of you hands, wrists and even neck?

Matching the hook you are using to the project and type of yarn can make a big difference in your comfort level. If your hook doesn’t work well with your yarn the adjustments you have to make while crocheting can add up to long-term pain.

There are a number of hook styles and shapes available commericially.  Here in the US hook shape debate seems to be between the “Boye” tapered style and “Bates” inline style hooks.  Now, no offense to either manufacturer, but there is far more to hooks than that.

First let’s look at the anatomy of a hook. The “business” end is the Point, Head, Throat and Shaft.

The shape of the point is key when you are looking at how easily the hook slips into a stitch. This is particullarly important if you are doing stitch work that requires a dense fabric…like amigurumis.

Another important thing to consider is the sharpness of the edge of the head in front of the throat.  When there is a sharp edge or sharp point there it can get caught on splitty yarns.

In fact, having the right hook for your project and yarn can change your mind about what types of projects and yarn you like to work with.  I used to think I didn’t like working tight stitched projects like amigurumi. Then I discovered that using the Clover Soft Touch hooks made them much easier. I now design projects like these regularly.

The Clover Soft Touch hook has a fairly tapered point that is slightly rounded.  They are also very smooth with an almost “teflon” finish that slip into snug stitches without splitting your yarn.  Unfortunately, being the visual person I am, I have never been thrilled with the color of the handles. I recently saw that Clover has come out with a new line of hooks called “Amour”. Colorful Elastomer handles with an interesting shape. Hopefully I will get my hands on some soon, and can post a product review.

Clover does have their Reflections sets too, which I think are beautiful.  These are acrylic with an elastomer inset on the thumbgrip and handle. Over the years that I have had these sets the elastomer has begun to peel and occassionally the edges between elastomer and acrylic can wear on my hands as I work.  I do wish they had these hooks in a wider range of sizes.

They have a similar shaped hook point to the Soft Touches, but the material that the hook is made of  isn’t always the best match with acrylic yarns.  Definitely not a good match for a project that requires tight stitch work.

Next hook post I’ll write about In-line versus Tapered.  This is really the debate for many American crocheters between the Boye and Bates hooks.

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